Many homes built before 1980 contain asbestos in old floor tiles, ceiling tiles, roof shingles and flashing, siding, insulation (around boilers, ducts, pipes, sheeting, fireplaces), pipe cement, and joint compound used on seams between pieces of sheetrock.
Asbestos becomes a hazard when it is airborne. If asbestos in the home becomes damaged, asbestos fibers may be released. For example, when asbestos insulation around boilers, furnaces, and pipes deteriorates, it releases asbestos dust. Blown ceilings containing asbestos may release fibers when they are drilled or patched. If the ceilings are in poor condition, air movement from ceiling fans and opening and closing draperies may spread asbestos dust.
A visual inspection of your home is usually not sufficient to determine if it contains asbestos. Instead, samples of suspected asbestos fibers should be sent to a certified laboratory for analysis.
At Clearview Home & Property inspections are qualified to extract samples to facilite this stage of the process.
What If I Find Asbestos in My House?
The method used for dealing with asbestos in the home depends upon where the asbestos is found, the condition of the material, and whether it is friable or non–friable. Friable asbestos can be easily crumbled or reduced to a powder and can become airborne. Non–friable asbestos is more tightly bound with another material and its fibers cannot easily be made airborne unless they are sanded, cut, or sawed.
If asbestos–containing material is currently in good condition and contained such that fibers cannot be released, then it may not be dangerous at this time. However, the situation should be monitored for signs of asbestos deterioration and damage.
In some cases, asbestos–containing materials may be repaired or isolated rather than removed. For example, small tears in pipe insulation may be repaired. Asbestos material that is in good condition may be isolated from potential damage by using a sturdy, airtight barrier. This can be a temporary solution to some asbestos problems. Encapsulants have been used over sprayed–on asbestos–containing material on walls and ceilings. Encapsulants are materials applied in liquid form to provide a seal against the release of asbestos fibers. They can work well for asbestos–containing material that has not been damaged, but do more harm than good if the material is deteriorating.
Asbestos removal is the only permanent solution to the problem of asbestos in the home. However, removal poses a high risk of fiber release if not done properly. Air samples should be taken after the work is completed to ensure the safety of the homeowner.